Category Archives: reading

Three Cheers for Kenzie Rose!

Welcome to our wild and wacky Author Interview, featuring the lovely Kenzie Rose. Thanks for joining us, Kenzie! 🙂

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About Kenzie:

Kenzie Rose lives on the Central Coast of California with her husband and grown children where she is surrounded by ideas and inspiration for her books. When not writing, you will find her sitting on the deck reading romances and listening to the waves.

She also loves to cook and throw parties for friends and family so this is her excuse to spend way too much time on Pinterest. She loves talking to readers and connecting with them on Social Media.

Kenzie’s Books:

*Everlasting Love, Book 1 in The Vineyards of Love Series

iBooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Kobo

*She’s My Destiny, Book 2 in The Vineyards of Love Series (tentative release December 27, 2016 (Cover reveal November 21, 2016)

*Unexpected Love a Vineyards of Love Novella (Tentative release February 21, 2017)

How to Connect With Kenzie:

*Facebook

*Twitter 

*Instagram: @kenzieroseauthor

*Facebook Readers Group

*Email: info@authorkenzierose.com

*Snap Chat: authkenzierose

*Website is under construction.

And now it is time to introduce my friend, author Kenzie Rose! Thanks for stopping by, Kenzie!

What do you write?

Contemporary Romances with HEA’s set on the Central Coast of California where I live.

What’s your favorite book of the books you’ve written?

Right now, it’s Everlasting Love, the first book that I wrote.

Who is your favorite character in one of your books?

Abigail Anderson, she lost her boyfriend who she loved in High School suddenly and decided that she couldn’t take a chance on love again because of the possibility that she might lose someone else too. But she is no match for Anthony.

Please tell us a little about your current writing project (your work in progress)

 This book is different than book 1, it has a little bit of action but it has been fun to write. Sam and Marco are a very earthy couple.

Here’s the synopsis:

Samantha thought she had finally found love – her bad high-school relationship only a memory. But memories have a way of coming back to haunt as Samantha’s old boyfriend is determined to stick around. Even his mere presence is threatening to derail her newfound happiness…

Marco has waited years to find “the one” and he knows that he’s found her in Samantha. With a new business, barely off the ground, he knows he has a lot to prove and the last thing he’s looking for is for her former ex to change his destiny – the destiny of him and his love.

Only Fate can decide if Samantha and Marco will be together and if their true love will conquer all.

Who is your favorite character in a book written by someone else?

That’s a hard one. I think Madeline Keller from Second Chances by Bernadette Marie. She is a very strong woman who battles Breast Cancer and learns that Second chances are possible.

Please share a few details about your writing process.

I have always been a visual person so believe it or not it all starts with a dream. I dream about the book, very vivid dreams, then I wake up and write. I also do a lot of research. I love it when I can read a book and visualize it. So, I pay attention to details. I write a chapter then my editor will read it then edit it so when I finish my first draft I can start right away on the editing. With this WIP it has been different, I wrote scenes or chapters while I was writing book 1, my ideas can come from hearing a song or seeing something like a winery or a hotel.

If you have pets, please share a memory—can be funny, poignant, sad…whatever you choose!

No Pets….

Please describe your ideal reading spot. Does this differ from your ideal writing spot?

I can read anywhere but my favorite place is in a bubble bath. I write anywhere the mood hits me.

If you won millions in the lottery, what would you do with it?

Quit my job and write full time and travel.

Where have you traveled? Where do you hope to travel?

I have been to the East Coast (Delaware and Pennsylvania) Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Nevada and Arizona. I would love to go to New England in the Fall and England, Ireland and Scotland. Now that I have written a book about some very Italian men I dream about going to Italy. Specify Tuscany and Lake Como.

If a movie was made about your life, who would play you? What would the title be?

Julia Roberts and it would be called My Way.

What’s your favorite candy? Favorite baked good? Favorite vegetable?

Favorite Candy is Peanut Butter Cups; Baked goods would be Brown Butter Cookies. Favorite Vegetable would be fresh green beans.

Do you have any hobbies? What are they?

I love to craft, make jewelry. I made Christmas Ornaments that are from my books again this year.

Do you collect anything? If so, what? 

Besides signed books I collect cookbooks. I love to cook.

If you could have a two-hour lunch with anyone (living or dead, fictional or real), who would it be?

E.L. James and Kelly Elliott. (I couldn’t pick just one.)

If you were to design a t-shirt with your life motto, what would it say?

You got this!

What animal best reflects your personality?

A cat.

What should we make for dinner tonight? Do you have a favorite recipe you can share?

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients 4 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or more as needed 2 extra-large egg 1/2 tablespoon water 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs Good olive oil 6 – 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 – 6 lemons), 1 lemon sliced in reserved 1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. (I use aluminum pans for easy cleanup.) Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce. For the sauce, wipe out the sauté pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt all but 2 tablespoons of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon slices, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon. I serve this with white rice but my daughter makes it and serves pasta.

Enjoy.

(Yum! I’m going to add this to my menu this week! -Amanda)

Who is your favorite book boyfriend/girlfriend?

Josh (Faithful by Kelly Elliott)

What’s your favorite sport or physical activity?

Baseball

Are you a Mac or PC person?

PC

Android or iPhone? Or are you more of a flip phone kind of person?

iPhone

Black socks, white socks, or funky colored/patterned socks?

Depends on the mood

How do you take your coffee or tea?

Southern Sweet Tea

What’s your idea of an incredible date?

Dinner and then my husband taking me to the bookstore.

What did you want to be when you grew up at age 5?

Olympic Gymnast.

What motivated you to write what you write?

I was told growing up that I had dyslexia so I just should plan on being a housewife. I wanted to prove them wrong, so I devoured books. Then I became a book blogger and an editor. Then one day I sent my best friend 4 chapters of something that I had written. She told me she wanted more. 6 months later Everlasting Love was finished and I had several books planned by then.

What makes you choose a particular character to develop? Do you have any special techniques for developing characters?

Nothing special I just write what wants to be written.

What would you say is your greatest success in your career so far?

Finishing Book 1 and hitting publish.

What do you want to be remembered for?

My family always comes first.

Please tell us something about yourself that hasn’t been covered in any of these questions.

I love to plan parties; doesn’t matter what kind of event I just have fun planning them.

Thank you so much for joining us here on my blog, Kenzie! Happy writing! xoxo, Amanda 🙂 

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Please welcome Christine Mazurk! :)

I’m thrilled to have the fabulous author, Christine Mazurk, visit my blog today. Please check out her interview below!

Here’s Christine Mazurk’s professional biography:

I’m an accomplished business woman and Ironman triathlete, who decided to quit my job to write fulltime!! Persistence, determination, and passion allowed me to reach my dream of becoming a published author! It took eight years to find my agent, and she sold my first book within six months. I’ve never looked back. Only forward for my next stories!!!

Some of her amazing books:
Passion’s Race, Passion’s Spirit, Mystical Connections, and Sisters Of Spirit, an anthology written with three lovely friends.

When you’re done reading this interview, you’re going to want to stay in touch with Christine. Here are some options for connecting with her:

*Facebook

*Twitter

*Website

*Email: mazurkchristine@gmail.com or cmazurk@aol.com 

And now it is time to journey into the wonderful imagination and life of Christine Mazurk! Don’t feel like you have to hold your applause until the end… 😉

What do you write, Christine?

I write contemporary fiction with romantic elements. Currently, I have two series going: One is an athletic journey series – two books published to date. The third is my current WIP. The other is a spirit with a message – one published to date, I’m working on the second one in tandem with Passion’s Promise!! Lots going on in my head right now! Characters fighting for the spotlight can make a person a bit loopy.

Who is your favorite character in one of your books?

It would have to be Uri in the Passion’s books. He’s a side character described as a blocky German. He’s one of CJ Fallon’s team mates and the man knows how to make you laugh!! He’s such a gentle giant with a huge heart!! Of course, I love all my heroes: Nick Madison, Mike Dawson, and Aidan Scott!!

Please share a few details about your writing process.

My best writing comes when I’m out for a long run or bike ride or hike. I see the next few scenes like a movie in my head, letting them take shape, so that once I’m showered and back at the computer, the words flow!! Mother Nature is an amazing muse.

If you have pets, please share a memory—can be funny, poignant, sad…whatever you choose!

My two 18-year-old, black and white cats passed away 3 months, 3 days apart. Thirteen days later, on a cold, wet, windy Christmas Eve as my son, DIL and I were walking their three huskies, a tiny black fur ball came running from under a bush and sat on my feet! Our Christmas present from our fur angels!! We adopted a brother for her the following week!! The Universe certainly works in mysterious ways!! (Awwwwww!!! -Amanda)

Please describe your ideal reading spot. Does this differ from your ideal writing spot?

I have two favorite reading spots. It depends on where I am – Florida or Utah. Sitting on the beach and listening to the waves crash or roll over the sand is so peaceful, but sitting under a large shade tree with the red mountains surrounding me is just as spectacular! Do I have to choose? My writing spots vary on my moods or what’s happening in the story. Can you tell I like to move around a lot? (Sounds heavenly! If I ever run away, I’m coming to find you! -Amanda) 

If you were to design a t-shirt with your life motto, what would it say?

“The heart of change is the change of heart!!”

What animal best reflects your personality?

Any large cat; Panther, Tiger, Lion. They are strong yet graceful.

Black socks, white socks, or funky colored/patterned socks?

Funky, fun, fluffy colorful socks!

What’s your idea of an incredible date?

A nice lunch out with my hubby. Favorite foods with an outstanding bottle of wine.

What did you want to be when you grew up at age 5?

I wanted to be a teacher. As I look back on my career, I did become a teacher, only my students were executives in business! I earned my degrees in Business Management and Accounting and climbed the corporate ladder to manage and train executives.

What makes you choose a particular character to develop?

Do you have any special techniques for developing characters? I travel often and love to people watch. It’s the best way to develop interesting characters with unique mannerisms and tics!!

What would you say is your greatest success in your career so far?

I’ve heard from several readers that my stories have motivated them to lose weight or to live heathier, more positive lifestyles. One reader did his first sprint triathlon after reading my Passion’s books. He has since gone on to complete several Olympic distance races and just last month, he finished his first Half Ironman (a 70.3-mile race)!! Hearing these stories makes my heart happy!!!

What do you want to be remembered for?

My empathy toward others, my generosity and sharing heart. I love to give and watch the smiles blossom.

Thank you so much for sharing this insight into you, Christine! I enjoyed learning more about you! 🙂 ~Amanda 🙂 

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Introducing…Author Dorothy Callahan!

Please join me in welcoming Dorothy Callahan, author of the newly released (today!!!) book, Crazy Little FlingShe’s agreed to answer some of my questions to help us get to know her. Following the Q&A session, you can read her professional bio and find ways to connect with Dorothy! 🙂

So here we go…

Thanks for joining us, Dorothy! 🙂 We’ll just go ahead and dig right in.

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*What’s your favorite book of the books you’ve written?

I think if you ask any author, he/she will say it’s the last book written. I think mine is a tie between CRAZY LITTLE FLING and IMPENETRABLE: Let No One In. Both are a fast, roller-coaster of a ride. IMPENETRABLE is about 2 people with severe trust issues who must rely on each other, even as they mean to take each other down– professionally. CRAZY is about a veterinarian whose vacation means she can take a break from making life-saving decisions, only to be tossed into a situation that jeopardizes the lives of everyone she holds dear.

I tend to write about very different people, so what resonates for me or you might be different for someone else. My sweetest story to date, A DECADE FOR DARIUS, is far tamer and was nominated by Sweet ‘N Sassy Bookaholics as “Best of the Best Reads of 2015.” Still has action/adventure, but a lot more heart to the story.

*Who is your favorite character in one of your books?

I tend to enjoy writing about angry heroines, those who lash out first and take stock later. That would include Rayleigh MacPherson from TAMING THE STALLION, Maggie Walsh from IMPENETRABLE, and an upcoming story featuring Cora, the veterinary technician who works with Dr. Krasinski in CRAZY LITTLE FLING.

Maybe it’s because these characters are so different from me? Who knows? 🙂

*If you have pets, please share a memory—can be funny, poignant, sad…whatever you choose!

Oh, boy, do I have pets. Or ghosts. Or cats who chase ghosts. Or just naughty cats. My day goes something like this: I walk into the house and yell, “Get off the counter!” to a cat who shouldn’t be on the counter. They know this. The rules have not changed since I got my first apartment when I was 21. So, why were they up there? Invisible bugs on the ceiling? Staring down ghosts? An innate need to challenge those who deliver kibble to their bowls? Or we walk into the kitchen and find our bills scattered on the floor. Well, since the cats aren’t allowed up on the counters (right? right?), it must be ghosts!

Then, let’s consider the reason I bought a computer desk with a hutch. Did I need storage? Not really. What I *needed* was a place to store my cats while I wrote. I made sure the hutch was JUST TALL ENOUGH that any cat’s tail dangling down would not obstruct my monitor.

I was off by 1 inch.

True stories.

*Please describe your ideal reading spot. Does this differ from your ideal writing spot?

My *ideal* reading spot involves a lounge chair and sun glinting off waves. Eighty degrees. Flip flops. Bathing suits. Siiiiigggh. Where I *read* is usually on the couch or settee. Add a cat. Or three. But my writing spot is my desk. I’ve never read at my desk, except that one time my Kindle ran out of juice mid-book. Thank God for apps!

*If you won millions in the lottery, what would you do with it?

See above regarding ideal reading spot. Siiiigggghhhhh. No, I’d move to Key West and buy the Hemmingway House. (Everything’s for sale if the price is right.) Then I’d donate to animal shelters. I think I’d probably turn my home into a kitty shelter at some point, too. A real one. Not just for furry social deviants who like to scatter my mail across the floor.

*What kind of pet have you always wanted but have never had?

My initial answer is 5 horses: a palomino Appaloosa, a Kiger mustang, a Freisian, a Tennessee Walking Horse, and a Gypsy Vanner. Barring those, a turquoise fire-breathing dragon. Oh, yeah…..

*Black socks, white socks, or funky colored/patterned socks?

The funkier, the better. With Halloween this week, I’ve worn Boo ghost socks, gray bat socks, and black socks with little white bones on them. 🙂

*What’s your idea of an incredible date?

I’m sure Gerard Butler will maintain his silence. Oh, the kilt…..

Thank you so much, Ms. Torrey, for letting me join your blog today! I had a great time. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to chat. 🙂

Thank you for joining us! By the way, I’d love to have a dragon, too! Maybe our dragons can have playdates? 🙂 ~Amanda 🙂 

Here’s how you can connect with Dorothy: (And I do recommend that you reach out to her–she’s amazing and highly entertaining, both in person AND online!)

Website: www.dorothycallahan.com

Email: dorothycallahanauthor@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/dorothycallahanauthor/

Twitter @Callahanauthor

About the Author

Dorothy Callahan is one of those authors who annoys other authors by refusing to be tied down to one genre. If a tale demands to be told—even if she’s never read a single story like it—she’ll find a way to write the book of her heart. This is the only way to quiet those demanding characters begging to be heard.

She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, a pride of demanding cats, and two loyal dogs, all rescued from shelters (well, not the husband). Her love of both animals and writing prompted her to start READ AND RESCUE, an organization where animal-loving authors and readers can find one another. The unique aspect to this group is that each author pledges a portion of proceeds to his/her favorite animal cause.

When Dorothy is not writing, she enjoys shopping for antiques and renovating their pre-Civil War house. If you are interested in learning more about Dorothy or how to help other animals in need, please visit her at dorothycallahan.com, dorothycallahanauthor@gmail.com, Facebook at Dorothy Callahan Author, or Twitter under Dorothy Callahan@Callahanauthor.

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Solitary Writer at the Boston Book Festival

Each year, I try to attend the Boston Book Festival, held in October. It’s a well-organized event that has a little something for everyone.

As usual, I made sure to attend the event I look forward to each year, Writer Idol. It is exactly what it sounds like–a literary version of American Idol. Brave writers submit the first page of their work, and someone reads them aloud. Three agents listen intently. They raise a hand when they would have stopped reading the submission, and when two of the three agents have raised their hand, the work stops being read. The agents then explain why they stopped reading.

I have never submitted my pages for this event (I am SO NOT BRAVE!), but I love listening to everyone else’s work, and it’s always interesting to watch the agent’s faces as they listen. It’s especially interesting to hear their thoughts on why they stopped.

Here are the takeaway lessons I got from this year’s Writer Idol event.

*New writers often “over-write.” The agents stressed that excellent writing should sound like the author barely put any effort into the prose. It should not be clunky or “too creative.”

*Writers need to simplify. Or, as one agent put it, “You don’t need all that shit!”

*Get rid of all the adjectives.

All of these lessons are sort of the same idea, but since I’m not allowed to over-write my manuscript, I figured I could take advantage and spell it all out in a blog post. 😉

I commend all of the brave, thick-skinned souls who submitted their work to be torn apart for the benefit of all.

So to my reader friends–please feel sorry for the writers who have to craft stories around all these dang rules we’re given every other minute. (No adverbs, no adjectives, no over-writing, no under-writing, no this, no that, blah blah blah). And to all of my writer friends–have a great big drink (and don’t forget to invite me!)

xoxo,

Amanda 🙂

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Making Things Up As I Go Along

I’m a writer.

I make things up.

Stories, conversations, people.

When I write a story, I don’t model my characters after anyone I know. This can be hard for non-writers to understand.

Don’t get me wrong, bits and pieces of everyone I encounter make up the characters I create, much the same way we are all made of stardust. I can’t pretend to understand where my ideas come from… nor will I ever be able to truly explain the process. I shock myself with some of the things that happen with my characters and my books.

Do my characters act like me? Ha. I’m rather boring in person, so I hope not! My characters make decisions based on who they are, not who I am. (Imagine how boring the book world would be if authors only wrote about themselves???) Readers are way too smart–we know when a character acts in a way that isn’t congruent with their psychological profile. How many times have you screamed at the television, “She’d never do that!”

Just as I/we read to escape, I also write to escape. To dream up a world with problems that are different than mine. To coax two characters toward the happily-ever-afters they deserve. To give my characters the opportunity to say the things I wish I could or would say. (You know what I mean–like when the perfect comeback forms in your head HOURS after the argument? In a book, the author can go back and add that bit of dialogue when it percolates. Don’t you wish you could do that in real life from time to time?)

Writing can feel like magic. Seeds are planted early on in a story, and I’ll often have no idea WHY a certain something was mentioned. Later, it becomes clear. “Oh, so THAT’S why he grows flowers!” Or whatever. By the time the story is written (and rewritten, and rewritten, and oh, did I mention rewritten?), I hope to have pieced together enough of the magic to bring the characters to life in a way that can make them feel like living, breathing characters.

So someday someone can play the guessing game about who I modeled my characters after. Because if I tell you that the hot hero on the cover is really tied up in my basement, you probably won’t believe me.  But if I tell you that the people you’ve grown to think of as friends (hopefully!) were complete figments of my imagination and not my friends, family, or neighbors, it may be even harder to believe.

Loving a Wildflower - Amanda Torrey 1600x2560

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